Article IV. Other Requirements for the Degree


In addition to departmental requirements for the degree or certificate, all graduate students must demonstrate competency in the English language and pay all degree fees. All graduate students must participate satisfactorily in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) workshop as well as the CITI online RCR module.  No one is exempt from this requirement.

Section 1. English Competency and Expository Writing

The Expository Writing Program helps facilitate students’ mastery of the conventions and expectations of graduate-level academic writing. The Expository Writing Program was established in 1976 as a diagnostic and teaching vehicle for implementing the Board of Trustees' mandate that all students in the Graduate School demonstrate proficiency in academic writing as a prerequisite for admission to candidacy for the master's or doctoral degree. From 1976 to spring 2016, the program, under the auspices of the Graduate School, administered the Expository Writing Examination. The Graduate School continues to maintain the responsibility for ensuring students’ writing proficiency through the Expository Writing Program. However, the Expository Writing Examination process through which this is achieved was shifted from the Graduate School to the individual academic programs in fall 2017. Under the current model, each graduate program determines its own Expository Writing Examination methods and exemptions.

All graduate students, unless exempt, are required to satisfy the expository writing requirement prior to being advanced to candidacy. The process for satisfying this requirement is determined by the individual graduate programs. It is recommended that students fulfill this requirement during the first year of the graduate program. Students enrolled in certificate programs are exempt from this requirement. 
Successful completion of the Expository Writing Examination remains valid for a period of 5 years; after 5 years, a student must either request an exemption from the Expository Writing Examination or re-engage the department’s Expository Writing Examination process.

Successful completion of the Expository Writing Examination is valid for one graduate degree program; a student who completes a degree program and pursues another must either request an exemption from the Expository Writing Examination or re-engage the department’s Expository Writing Examination process. Students who have previously satisfied the Expository Writing requirement must either submit completion documents that are no more than five years old, request an exemption from the Expository Writing Examination, or re-engage the department’s Expository Writing Examination process.

The McGraw-Hill Expository Writing Course

A student who does not successfully pass the Expository Writing Examination administered by the graduate program may be referred to the coordinator of the Expository Writing Program, who will instruct the student to register for and purchase access to the online McGraw-Hill Connect Expository Writing course. This course includes the adaptive LearnSmart Achieve - Developmental Writing 3.0 module, which provides targeted instruction and adaptive, skills-based practice in content development, organization, argumentation, grammar and mechanics, and common writing difficulties experienced by multilingual writers. Once a student has completed the module, the Expository Writing Program coordinator will provide a performance report and a signed letter indicating the date of completion. The student will provide the graduate program director with copies of both documents, which may then be applied to the student’s satisfaction of the department’s expository writing requirements. 

Each graduate program determines how a student’s completion of the course will apply to its expository writing requirement. For example, some programs may require only evidence of course completion, while others may require a student to re-take the Expository Writing Examination after completing the course. Additionally, the course addresses only the broad areas of concern indicated. Other writing concerns must be addressed by the graduate programs.  

Students who take the course are responsible for requesting evidence of course completion from the Expository Writing Program, submitting the completion documents to their graduate program, and keeping copies of the completion documents in their own records. The Expository Writing Program is not responsible for keeping records of course completion documents after they have been provided to the student. 

Exemption from the Expository Writing Examination

A student may request to be declared exempt from taking the Expository Writing Examination.  To request an exemption, a student must submit the Expository Writing Examination Exemption Form with at least one qualifying document. Students may submit additional qualifying documents to support the exemption request. 

Qualifying Documents:

  • A previously submitted dissertation or master’s thesis: Student must submit a signed copy of the dissertation or thesis and an official copy of the transcript showing completion of the degree.
  • A published article in a refereed academic journal: Student must submit a copy of the article, including full bibliographical information. Qualifying articles must have undergone a peer-review process, and verification of peer-review may be requested by the Expository Writing Program. Articles written for newspapers, newsletters, magazines, or other non-refereed publications will not suffice as qualifying documents. 
  • A major professional report: Student must submit a copy of a robust, detailed report written for an employer. Suitability of the report will be determined by the student’s Director of Graduate Studies. Reports that show no clear evidence of authorship and/or students’ specific contributions will not suffice as qualifying documents.
  • GRE Analytical Writing Assessment: Students must score a 5 or above and submit a copy of the official ETS Score Report. 

The exemption request must be approved and signed by the student’s Director of Graduate Studies, who will then forward the student’s request to the Expository Writing Program for review. If the exemption is approved, students will be notified by the Expository Writing Program coordinator via email.

Section 2. Responsible Conduct of Research

The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Workshop is intended to provide students with information on pertinent federal and University guidelines and regulations pertaining to the responsible conduct of research as well as to instruct them in a method of utilizing moral reasoning skills in responding to ethical dilemmas in research. Workshop topics include intellectual property, data sharing, and understanding of Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies and procedures, data acquisition and management, and mentoring. The RCR training workshop is a requirement for admission to candidacy. To receive the RCR certificate, students must complete all required training sessions and successfully complete a learning assessment exercise at the end of the workshop. In addition, all students are responsible for completing and passing the on-line CITI Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) module. Both RCR workshop certificate and the CITI RCR module certificate are required for advancement to candidacy.